A mum-of-two is warning others to always be “sun smart” after a tiny blind pimple was later diagnosed as an aggressive form of skin cancer.
Kirstie Webber from Sydney is a typical Aussie; she loves warm days by the beach but taking care to “slip, slop, slap” hasn’t always been a priority.
“I’d be lucky enough to put a tinted moisturiser on my face before leaving the house,” she told body+soul. “I’d wear a hat but only if my hair was dirty or it went with my outfit.”
In February 2018, Ms Webber said she was applying face moisturiser when she felt an unusual small lump under her eye.
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“At first, I didn’t think anything of it, I thought it was a blind pimple. A couple months later, when telling my sister about the lump, she immediately convinced me to get a skin check.”
According to new research from TAL, a leading Australian life insurance specialist, 87 per cent of women have not had a skin check in the past 12 months and a shocking one in four women never self-examine their skin.
Within a week of her check, Ms Webber was told the seemingly innocent pimple was, in fact, an aggressive form of skin cancer.
“I was told by the surgeon that I had an aggressive BCC (Basil Cell Carcinoma) growing in my face that needed removing.”
BCC is the most common type of skin cancer, which forms on the skin’s top layer and develops on parts of the body that are often exposed to the sun, like the head, face, shoulders and arms.
It often starts with a small lump or a sore that doesn’t heal.
“I was in shock that my results came back positive for skin cancer and that it was on my face,” she said.
The 32-year-old was told the BCC was “growing aggressively” and if she didn’t have the growth removed, it could potentially spread across her entire cheek.
Following the consultation, surgery was booked immediately.
“The morning of my surgery I was nervous,” Ms Webber said.
“I guess this was because my face was going to be cut open, and I was also anxious if it may have spread or if the surgery would be successful and they would get it all.
“I wasn’t so much scared about going under, but just praying it hadn’t spread.”
Luckily, the surgery was successful and the surgeon was able to completely remove the cancer.
“The recovery took several weeks as I had stitches and had to be careful not to have too much blood rush to the area to affect the scarring,” she said.
“Once the stitches were removed, I wore a skin colour tape over the scar for another two weeks.
“After that I was left with a deep red scar in the shape of a P on my face. I put a scar treatment cream on my face every day and was so conscious about getting any sun on my face.”
Although Ms Webber’s scar is still quite prominent, she sees it as a daily reminder to be sun smart.
“At first, I was conscious of my scar and always wearing makeup to try and hide it but now I just look at it and am grateful and thankful as it could have been worse.
“It is a daily reminder to continue to be sun smart and wear sunscreen, a hat, sunnies and protective wear.”
This article originally appeared on body + soul and was reproduced with permission